Listeners are sensitive to prosody in segmental categorization

Jeremy Steffman


Two experiments were designed to test if and how listeners’ awareness of prosodic structure might modulate categorization of speech segments. This possibility has been challenged by recent experiments showing an effect originally analyzed as originating from awareness of prosodic structure might simply be due to speech rate normalization. The current studies test for listener awareness of prosodic structure in a way that is not confounded with rate normalization. Experiment 1 shows that tonal melodies influence categorization, where an IP boundary tone appears to give the percept of increased speech rate when compressed onto a short vowel, suggesting listener awareness of intonationally defined prosodic structures and their temporal manifestation. Experiment 2 shows that expectations about phrase final lengthening modulate segment categorization in a directionality that is not predicted by rate normalization. Taken together, the experiments suggest that prosodic structure is relevant for listeners in their categorization of speech segments.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-56

Cite as: Steffman, J. (2018) Listeners are sensitive to prosody in segmental categorization. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 274-278, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-56.


@inproceedings{Steffman2018,
  author={Jeremy Steffman},
  title={Listeners are sensitive to prosody in segmental categorization},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},
  pages={274--278},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-56},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-56}
}